• Oil & Gas - News
  • Updated: May 22, 2023

Seplat Flow Stations In Delta Shut Down By Protesting Youths

Seplat Flow Stations In Delta Shut Down By Protesting Youths

In a show of defiance against what they claimed was the oil company's marginalisation, hundreds of men and women acting under the auspices of the Okpe Oil and Gas Forum shut down Seplat Energy Flow stations over the weekend throughout Sapele Local Government Area in Delta State.

The demonstrators, who were the oil company's hosts, said that the business doesn't care about their well-being and gave its native employees low-level jobs in contrast to others.

They consequently sought improved working conditions and equitable treatment from the firm, much like their colleagues in other locations.

Some of the protesters' placard read thus: “Treat us well in our land”; ‘’We are not slaves”;  “We are suffering in our land inspite of the blessings; “We are tired of being treated badly,” while the women danced round Oton and Amukpe flow stations.

The Sapele Okpe community's financial secretary and forum participant, Comrade Eloho Ogodo, spoke for the demonstrators when he claimed they were sick of being treated like slaves in their own country.

“We are working like elephants and taking home peanuts. We are not here on our own, we are under the instruction of the President of the forum, Chief Dickson

“Our people are being employed in low positions like messenger, cleaner, security men and so on and paid very poorly.

“That is why we said we are fed up, not until they listen to us we are not leaving here today,” he said.

Freeborn Ogodo, a member of the Okpe Oil and Gas Forum and vice chairman of the Sapele Okpe Community, said that the Okpes have been too silent for a long time and that it is demoralising to be treated like a slave in his own country.

“Imagine our brothers being poorly paid compared to the others.

“They say we are only fit for low jobs and we are paid forty thousand naira to fifty thousand naira while the same people in other places are paid hugely” adding that they are fed up with the continuous maltreatment from Seplat Energy.

Speaking on behalf of the mothers in the neighbourhood, Victoria Kekeke highlighted how painful it was for her to watch her kids in low-paying jobs or the jobless.

She emphasised the difficulties faced by poor widows and the need for Seplat to take into account the qualifications of the Okpe employees and give them equal opportunity and pay.

Rebecca Atori, a member of the Sapele Okpe Community's Egweya Group, criticised the practice of paying Okpe employees pitiful salaries while those in comparable professions earn noticeably more.

However, Seplat Energy underlined in a news release its dedication to best practices in the management of contractor workers.

The business stated that on May 19, 2023, at 6 a.m., some local residents acting as contractors' employees broke into its offices in Sapele West and Amukpe, disrupting production and necessitating a brief suspension of business operations, including notice of force majeure to affected customers.

"The disruption has been rectified and regular operations have resumed via stakeholder interactions and coordination with the Government.

“Our contractor staff at Seplat Energy are urged to voice any complaints (if they have any) through their managing contractors or authorised Seplat authorities, as well as through other recognised third-party mediation channels.

“We are actively investigating why these employees chose to engage in disruptive behaviour rather than follow established protocols or show any consideration for public safety or the greater good of the nation (our Seplat West facilities provide around 37% of the gas utilised for power production in the nation).

“Our discussions with stakeholders are ongoing. In a meeting with contractors' employees, security providers, and Okpe Host Communities Forum officials, we were able to determine that the disturbance was brought on by the people's requests for pay raises and automatic promotion to regular employees.

“We believe that prior to the event, arrangements were being made to implement a pay rise for the employees of the contractors handling these people, and they have been informed of their activities.

“We must emphasize that during the invasion of our facilities, we ensured the safety and security of our staff which is always our primary priority.

“All of our production staff are safe, and no injury or harm was recorded.

“Seplat Energy continuously strives to ensure best practice in the management of personnel provided to us by third-party service providers, including regular engagements on their grievances.

“These service providers will continue to engage their personnel and amicably address the concerns raised by them.

“In order to effectively handle the situation, avert any HSE incident, and swiftly resume regular operations, we would like to express our gratitude to the leaders of our community and the government security services.

“As part of our efforts towards ongoing improvement, we are keeping lines of communication open with all parties involved, and in the coming weeks, we will perform a post-mortem and draw important lessons from it to improve our procedures and stop a repeat of the incident."

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